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Archive for Monday, September 24, 2007

Photo shows Castro standing, heavier

September 24, 2007

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— Cuba published a photo Sunday of a standing, smiling Fidel Castro looking heavier but still gaunt as he met with Angola's president, the first head of state to see the ailing 81-year-old since June.

The picture, which appeared on the front page of Communist Party youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde, shows Castro in a track suit, athletic pants and tennis shoes. The Cuban leader appears to have gained weight and wears a warm half-smile as he shakes hands with Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who was in Cuba since Thursday on an official visit.

The image was released two days after Castro gave a surprise hourlong interview on state television, during which he answered rumors about his death that have swirled recently in the United States by saying simply, "well, here I am."

Sunday's photo was the first time Castro has been seen standing in months. He stayed seated during the interview, which aired Friday evening just hours after officials said it was taped.

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